On Wednesday, Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) and Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens) presented the key points of a corresponding draft law in Berlin. According to the presented draft law, the private consumption and cultivation of cannabis will be allowed in Germany later this year.
According to the revised plan for cannabis legalization, possession of up to 25 grams and the cultivation of three plants for personal use would be decriminalized in the future. However, as explained by Federal Health Minister Lauterbach and Agriculture Minister Özdemir, the free sale of the drug will initially be postponed. Instead, special clubs should initially be allowed to provide limited amounts of cannabis products to their members. ARD capital correspondent Dietrich Karl Mäurer has explained further details about the government’s plans on NDR Info.
Mäurer explains that the project is planned to be implemented in two stages. In the first stage, the quick elimination of prohibitions and law enforcement as well as the drying up of the black market is intended to be achieved. Controlled dispensing should be done through “non-profit associations” that grow cannabis products for recreational purposes and may provide them to a maximum of 500 members for their own consumption. The amounts of cannabis to be distributed by these “non-profit associations” should be limited to 25 grams per person per day and a maximum of 50 grams per month. It should also be allowed to grow cannabis for personal use. According to the draft law, the possession of up to 25 grams of cannabis and the cultivation of up to three female plants per person shall be allowed and not punished.
Could one say that the draft law represents a gradual approach towards full cannabis legalization?
Mäurer: Yes, that’s a good summary. The government is taking a cautious and coordinated approach here to minimize possible risks and impacts while at the same time reaping the benefits of legalization. The government plans to take a gradual approach towards full legalization, which will be supported by model experiments and observations.
How certain is it that the new German plans are compatible with EU law?
Mäurer says that the state-controlled model experiments are likely to be compatible with EU law. Lauterbach had talks with the EU Commission on this topic, which remained confidential, but he was able to say that he took the new key points from it. There doesn’t seem to be an issue with the recent discussions that have taken place in the past weeks and months regarding the obligation of Schengen area countries to prevent the illegal export and trafficking of drugs, including cannabis. So, this pilot project seems to have found a feasible way.
How will this be implemented in practice? How will adults over 18 years of age be able to obtain cannabis in the future? Should this happen in these clubs where you have to become a member?
Mäurer: Agriculture Minister Özdemir announced that legal cannabis consumption will probably be possible later this year. To do so, one must become a member of a non-profit cannabis club, where they can then purchase and consume cannabis for private use up to the allowed maximum amount. Alternatively, one can also purchase cannabis seeds or cuttings and grow them at home. It is extremely important, however, to ensure that children and adolescents do not have access to cannabis.
If someone does not want to become a member of this club, they can still get cannabis on the black market.
Mäurer: That’s true, but then the buyer still doesn’t know – as it is now – exactly what he is buying. The problem is that cannabis sold on the black market is often cut with even more toxic substances. Mäurer: Agriculture Minister Özdemir is confident that the new law will have an impact here: The black market will be “blackly annoyed,” as the Green politician puts it. The government’s goal is to ensure the controlled distribution of cannabis to adults while maximizing the protection of children and adolescents. The traffic light coalition does not expect to completely eliminate the black market, but that it can be significantly restricted. The cannabis clubs are not supposed to operate for profit, but to offer the cannabis to their members at cost price. In contrast, a dealer, of course, has an interest in making a profit from the sale of drugs. The price could possibly help regulate that.